The stretch of Salmonberry Creek that flowed in Port Orchard, Washington had been turned into a ditch. Each winter, neighbors would notice that flood waters would wash Coho salmon into the adjacent fields, leaving them stranded once the waters subsided.
In the early 2000s, Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group began working with the landowners to find a solution. With funding from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group was able to purchase easements from several of the property owners, and several others donated their land to the project.
Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group designed a new channel for the stream, one that would meander and have pools for the fish to take refuge during winter high flows. The project, which was constructed during the summers from 2003 to 2005, included:
- Excavating 3.84 acres of interconnected ponds;
- Creating and planting mounds to enhance habitat and create pools;
- Working with volunteers to plant 4,130 native trees and shrubs to provide shade and stability to the stream channel; and
- Adding wood to the newly created channels and ponds (salmon gravitate toward the cover that wood provides).
Just 6 months after construction wrapped, ponds began to form where there once was only a field.
One year after construction, vegetation took root and flourished, providing crucial habitat throughout the system.
Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group has been monitoring the site for a decade now. In that time, seedlings have become trees, and beavers have made themselves at home. Their damns have enhanced the ponds and groundwater—all beneficial for the improvement of fish habitat.
Many people and organizations made this project possible—landowners and volunteers, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, the Salmon Recovery Board, and individual donors like you.